Dr. Tod Speer, the Radiation Oncologist at Willmar Regional Cancer Center, was recently awarded a pilot grant from the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR). Dr. Speer and Dr. Bruce Thomadsen were awarded a one year $50,000 grant for their research proposal entitled, “Synthesis of a novel radiolabeled prostate cancer therapeutic agent.” This award represents co-funding support from the UW Carbone Cancer Center. Dr. Speer and Dr. Thomadsen will serve as co-investigators on the research which will begin in July 2014. Dr. Speer previously worked as a clinical assistant professor in the department of human oncology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine.
The objective of this study is to research NR3 (a nuclear receptor) in prostate cancer cells using a small ligand that is radiolabeled with an Auger emitter. “This research is unique because all of the radiopharmaceutical drugs that are currently being used to treat cancer produce radiation, mostly in the form of beta particles, to target the affected areas. This is the weakest form of radiation. To date, nobody has been able to harness the energy of Auger emitters or target the most sensitive site within a cell, the nucleus. If successful, this drug could potentially treat all NR3 positive tumors which would not only include prostate cancer, but also breast cancer and certain brain tumors.” said Dr. Speer.
Dr. Speer has also been appointed as the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) representative to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for targeted radionuclide therapy group this past year. The group meets to discuss ideas to further advance radiopharmaceutical research.